The Odd Attack on Dean

Amid Democratic postelection celebrating, there was a bizarre outburst: a malicious attack launched by James Carville against Howard Dean, chair of the Democratic National Committee, demanding his ouster. Carville’s freakish initiative was bogus in every way. He has the same influence in party affairs as any other talking head on CNN–that is, none. In a year when the Democrats achieved their first real Congressional victory since 1992, Carville accused Dean of losing seats by not devoting more money to close House races. The Ragin’ Cajun was promptly stuffed. Don Fowler, former state party chair of South Carolina, observed: “Asking Dean to step down now, after last week, is equivalent to asking Eisenhower to resign after the Normandy invasion.” Senator Harry Reid, the new majority leader, rallied to Dean too. “I didn’t support his running for the chair of the DNC,” Reid said. “I was wrong. He was right: I support his grassroots Democratic Party-building.”

Carville’s reckless foray, joined by pollster Stanley Greenberg, is worthy of comment only because the two are picking a fight that reflects the deep, potentially explosive fault-line in the party: the battle for control between old and new. Carville speaks for yesterday’s failed politics–the Clinton years. Dean represents a more promising future with his aggressive efforts to rebuild a fifty-state party that grows from the grassroots up.

The Nation, November 22, 2006

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~ by anick on November 22, 2006.

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